For Kendrick, the agreement represents a continuation of his work with law enforcement agencies. In the past, Lamp Monkey has produced its specialty badges on request from the Harris County Precinct 3 Constable’s office and Houston Police Department to be presented to officers upon their retirement.
Lee Kendrick, whose Humble-based company, Lamp Monkey, produces custom-made lighted signs for businesses and homeowners, has agreed to produce special commemorative displays that feature the fallen officers’ badges. The HPFSU plans to present the backlit badges to the late officers’ families as a memorial to their loved one’s ultimate sacrifice.
“We’ve even done a game warden badge,” Kendrick said, “To me, it’s an honor just to be associated with those guys who go out and put their life on the line every day.”
Lamp Monkey specializes in the production of specialty lighted signs which can advertise a business or give an added luster to the entryway or interior of a private home. In order to produce one of his pieces, Kendrick, who designs and fabricates the products himself, cuts the foreground design out of metal, then encases that design in a box frame, backlit by LED lights.
In addition to the custom-made signs, which currently make up the bulk of the business, Lamp Monkey also has teamed up with sports equipment manufacturer Rydell to produce a line of lighted football helmets, representing NFL and college teams.
Kendrick said he is especially proud of a sign he produced for ABC Channel 13 news, which had done a feature story on his business. “Occasionally I’ll see it on the news in the background, so that’s kind of neat,” he said.
“We get our helmets from them and then we cut them in half and build our lighted frames,” Kendrick said. He said that within the next year, he hopes to develop a wholesale business to market the lighted helmets to retail outlets across the state and the nation.
Although the lighted helmets are produced according to a specific pattern, occasionally, a customer will order one with a special design. “We have a family that’s torn; [a Texas] A&M and Longhorn family. So, we’ll make one that has both of the helmets in there together as a custom piece,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick, who currently lives in the Eagle Springs subdivision, is a native and longtime resident of Humble. “My grandfather had a gas station here on Main Street back in the ‘50s,” he said. His current business grew out of a hobby he began pursuing in 2012, while he was working in the corporate office of Academy Sports & Outdoors in Katy. “We had bought a beach house and I wanted to put something cool in there, so I took this old ‘50s boat motor and made it into a floor lamp,” he said.
However, instead of placing the piece he had fabricated in his beach house, Kendrick sold it, then produced another decorative lamp and sold it as well. “It kind of grew from there,” he said. As the hobby turned into a business, the new venture needed a name. “I just wanted something that would stick in people’s head, versus Kendrick Lighting,” he said. “That’s not going to stay with you. Lamp Monkey sticks with you, and to me, you can’t say ‘monkey’ without smiling.”
In 2017, he left the corporate world and began running Lamp Monkey as a full-time operation. The business operates out of a workshop/office building in downtown Humble. In 2018, Lamp Monkey bought a retail building next door to its current location, and for a time used that building as a showroom for its products. However, Kendrick soon found that the showroom did not fit into his business plans and he recently sold the building. “A showroom was nice to have, but it really wasn’t a necessity for us, especially since there’s not a whole lot of foot traffic here,” he said. In addition, he said that most of his business comes about word of mouth, through social media — such as Facebook, Instagram or the company website, lampmonkey.com – rather than through in-person sales.
Kendrick’s future plans call for continuing to make building improvements in his current location. “We’ve already renovated it 100 percent with new metal on the inside and outside. And then we’ll do a couple of cosmetic things on the outside further down the road.”
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